May 22


Expats Living in Rome

By Rick

May 22, 2013

Fellow Expats Living in Rome, blogs and websites

Boy, this blogging thing is a lot of fun!  How else could a wisenheimer like me spread his useless and inappropriate opinions around the world with such speed and ease—and with such a disregard for accountability?  Of course, that’s not so hard when you have a loyal readership of 12 (yes, that number includes you, Mom).  But in the words of Cyril Connolly, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”  Alas, I keep myself quite entertained with this futile enterprise.

expats living in rome, rick zullo, rome blogs

Despite my affinity for sarcasm, however, I hope that the sincere affection I have for Italy, its culture, and its people comes through loud and clear.  (Stop laughing, I’m being serious for once!)  In my blog, I strive to discuss topics which are common enough to be interesting to a lot of  people (all 12 of you), yet at the same time I try not to rehash the same old clichés—or if I occasionally do, I at least attempt to put my own personal spin on them.

However there are others out there, both in the real world and cyberspace, who actually contribute something valuable to all the tourists and expats infesting Italy’s beautiful capital.  In an effort to spread the love a bit, I’d like to introduce some of them to you.  Eccoli!

Social networking  and general information

Expats living in Rome: This is where it all started for me.  While whisking around the Italian peninsula during a three month spree in 2010, I came to a screeching halt at an aperitivo on the Isola Tiberina one night.  The Expats were offering Italian lessons, and when I met my teacher I quickly decided to cancel the rest of my itinerary and stay in Rome for a while.  Almost three years later, I’m still pazzo for my Sicilianuzza.  My Italian hasn’t improved very much, but we’re married now, so she’s not getting rid of me no matter what.  (Do I hear a collective, “Awww…” out there?)

rick zullo, rome, italy

Anyway, besides the occasional matching-making, the Expats are a great place to start for both tourists and new residents to Rome.  It’s the ideal way to ease into the shallow end instead of drowning in the chaos alone.  They provide a social network, language classes, and potential business contacts for anyone friendly enough to join them.  But then again, I’m biased.

Romeing: dubbed as “your ultimate guide to Rome’s cultural scene, events, and lifestyle.”  This site is PACKED with useful information for both tourists and expats, including a calendar of events and spot-on suggestions for enjoying the best of Rome.  Trust their advice; it will save you from making poor, uninformed choices.  They also have a print version which can be found at various locales around town.

BuzzInRome: Here you can find all the essential information to enjoy a true Roman holiday to the fullest, the kind you just won’t find in travel books.  In any case, your guide book was probably printed around the time of Julius Caesar.  Do you think nothing new has happened in Rome since then?

Rome Food bloggers

If you read my blog, then you know that I love to occasionally pontificate on the transcendent pleasures of Italy’s regional cuisines and the “rules” that accompany them.  I don’t claim to have any real knowledge on the topic other than what my taste buds (and my Sicilian wife) tell me.  But that’s half the fun, really; exploration and discovery.  Who knew that “Italian Food” is something beyond checkered tables cloths, Dean Martin songs, and Chicken Parmesan?  There’s a big, tasty world city out there waiting to be savored.  But ultimately you will need some real guidance beyond what I can offer.

food in rome, italian cuisine,
It’s not that hard, just start with great ingredients and try not to screw them up!

Unlike me, the following people are extremely qualified gourmets/sommeliers and are excellent resources to help you swear off the Fettuccine Alfredo once and for all and learn about the authentic food culture in Rome and beyond.  Their advice can be dangerous, however.  You’ve been warned.

Elizbeth Minchilli: She a busy woman: writer, blogger, app creator, and food tour operator.  (Ironically, I wonder when she has time to eat!)  She is the English-speaking source for Roman food knowledge.  Her tours consistently get rave reviews on sites like Trip Advisor.  I’ve personally used her app and found it to be a great tool when you find yourself in any given neighborhood and don’t know where to find a great meal.

Katie Parla: Talk about qualifications—she has a BA in Art History from Yale, a sommelier certificate, and a Masters in the Cultura Gastronomica Italiana (Universitá degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”).  She also writes, gives culinary tours, and has a recently updated app featuring 175 top foodie venues in Rome.  Her articles have appeared in the New York Times.  I’ve noticed that she’s recently been blogging about the food scene in Istanbul and has an app to go along with that, as well.

Elenora Baldwin: an American born and Italian raised, global citizen.  As a food and lifestyle writer, journalist, blogger, and wanderlust addict based in Rome, she divides her time between writing food and lifestyle stories, guiding foodie adventures, and designing culinary vacations in Italy.  She’s written, edited and contributed to numerous travel and lifestyle publications including the 3rd edition of Frommer’s Day by Day Guide to Rome.

Touring Rome

Rome Personal Tours: Stuart Harvey is an Englishman in Rome, enjoying life in the Eternal City since 2001. Having already qualified as a licensed “Blue Badge” Tourist Guide in London in 1998, Stuart is proud to have also passed the Provincia di Roma exams to become a licensed Tour Guide of Rome, becoming one of very few people to hold both qualifications.

Rome by Vespa: take a spin around the Seven Hills with Annie Ojile Nerone, a native Minnesotan born into an Italian-American family.  She first experienced Italy studying abroad as a college student.  She instantly knew that someday this country would be her permanent home.  And now it is.

When in Rome: offers a wide selection of Rome tours, Vatican tours, and excursions elsewhere in Italy for all tastes.  Their Vatican City and Rome sightseeing tours run every day so you won’t miss anything in the company of our expert, licensed guides.  When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

Fritto Misto: Assorted Expats, Facebook friends, and Tweeters

Gillian McGuire: Rome based blogger, app writer, information curator, and self-professed coffee drinker.  Gillian (aka “the Source”) is your go-to girl for the best information on just about anything in the eternal city.   Also check out her wonderful app at:

Liz Knight:  an American attorney who quit her job in the States, sold her house, and moved back to the Caput Mundi for the second time in her life.  She has started her own legal practice as a contract attorney for American attorneys and legal organizations.  If she sounds like a serious person, well then you should read her blog.  She clearly loves Rome, but enjoys sharing the funny side of the expat experience.

Shelly Ruelle:  an American expat who has lived in Rome since 2001.  A professional in the field of study abroad, a freelance travel writer, a former teacher of English as a second language (like me), and basically all-around curious person with a passion for anything that isn’t routine. She knows a lot about living in Italy, Roman culture, and gelato (not necessarily in that order).

Tiffany Parks:  She hails from the glorious Pacific Northwest, and has also lived in Boston and Montreal where she studied classical singing and opera.  Her days are spent showing travelers the many wonders of our adopted city and, of course, writing about them.  With Rome as her muse, she is working on her first book, an art mystery for young readers.  And she’s a big Caravaggio fan like me!

Let’s hear it for the boys

Maybe it’s just my perception, but as far as Rome bloggers go, the women seem to outnumber the men by about 4 to 1.  In a gesture of solidarity, I’d like to give a shout out to a couple of fellow blogger maschili that I follow in Rome.

Keith Preble: studies politics, teaches English privately, and maintains a few quality websites including one about tourism and one about the Italian language

Pete, the Lazio Explorer:  In 2004 he met an Italian and his life changed forever.  (Sound familiar? It does to me.)  He explores the Lazio area just north of Rome, one weekend  at a time. His blog details his journey, along with hints and tips on how to survive off the tourist trail in ‘real’ Italy.

Friends, Romans, Expats, lend me your web blogs

So there you have it, a list of blogs and websites to check out that, unlike my random synaptic misfires, might contain some real authoritative value.  I couldn’t include everybody, of course, even if I limited my list to only English-speaking expats living in Rome.  Check out their pages and let them know that Rick sent you.   And if you follow any great Rome bloggers that I should know about, please leave a link in the comments section.  I always like to read another perspective on the beautiful/crazy life in the Caput Mundi.

Ciao, amici!

Recent Posts:

About the author

Living in the Caput Mundi and trying to decipher Italian culture for the English speaking world.

  • Hi Rick! I’m partial, but I’m of the opinion that The English Schoolhouse’s blog– is pretty awesome. :0) Learned about a lot of new blogs from your list above. Thanks!

  • Hey Rick – love reading your blog.. Especially when it’s about malocchio (from rome I put in a call to have my Italian born mother in Australia to take it off me sometimes! Old habits die hard!) and the colpo d’aria! 🙂 when I moved to Rome – I thought having cervicale was some serious illness 🙂 anyhoo here’s my blog if you ever feel like checking it out – a presto!

    • Ciao Maria! I HAVE checked out your blog and I love it! In fact, I was drafting a post recently about how my English has deteriorated over the past few years when I came across your recent post on the same topic. Great stuff and so true. I’ve even been accused of talking as if English in not my first language. Ha, ha…

    • Thanks Adrian! Yes, there are many ‘A-listers’ here, a few from the B-list…and then yours truly struggling to maintain his C-list status! Ciao!

  • Wow! Thanks for the tons of information and the not so subtle humor that I’ve come to expect and appreciate! The next time that I visit the Caput Mundi I won’t be at a loss as to where to find the best Gorgonzola crusted branzini or chicken with pesto! Ha ha! Seriously, another great blog.

  • Wonderful list, Rick. We are planning to visit la bella citta in September and will make good use of thuis list. There are always new things to discover. Thanks much

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Channel Your Inner Italian!

    Whether you're preparing for an upcoming vacation, trying to reconnect with your family's roots, or if you just want to emulate the joyful and healthy lifestyle of Mediterranean Italy, then get started by downloading one (or all) of my FREE guides to Italian living at its best!